Winner! Daily Flash Fiction 7/14/20
Grandma has a lamp. It freaks me out. It’s a shrunken head.
“Someone’s head, I dried it, shellacked it. U-knee-q, right?” Grandma rubs the head for good luck. Then she does that weird laugh of hers, like a chicken clucking.
Like I said it freaks me out. This lamp sits on a table in the front room. Grandma calls it the ‘parlor’, with big heavy furniture, and a big heavy curtain made of some fabric called damask. Dark, dank, weird room. Grandma likes us to sit in there when we visit. I like to play sick when dad says we’re going to Grandma’s.
So today is the dreaded day. Mom and Dad announce a visit to Grandma. I say no thanks.
“You said that last week, Joey. You’re going. No excuse this time.” Blast. Another day in the dark, dank room with the shrunken head.
All during the drive to Grandma’s I thought about the lamp. Was it a real head? Perhaps Grandma killed someone and shrunk the head, maybe she was a cannibal. Maybe she got it from some weird island in the Pacific where they still did that, or the remote Amazon jungle.
Hugs, kisses as we arrive, kisses from a killer. I avoid the parlor as long as I can. But we gather there, as usual. I have to sit beside the lamp. So I decide to study it. Is it really a shrunken head? How could you tell? It’s dark, rotten apple brown, feels leathery, small with a tube in the middle coming up to the light above. The light bulb shines down on some little eyes, are they real? Did they just look at me?
“Did Grandma kill that lamp head?” I asked on the way home.
“Nope. Gramps died in his sleep.”